Sunday was a busy day for firefighters and utility workers in Chautauqua County. Beginning in the early morning hours, they were called out to deal with trees and wires downed as a result of the high winds in the area.
According to meteorologist Jeff Wood from the National Weather Service in Buffalo, southwesterly winds of about 45 mph began Saturday at about 10 p.m. He noted gusts of 69 mph near the lighthouse in Dunkirk, 62 mph in Barcelona, and 55 mph at the Dunkirk Airport.
Julius Leone, Chautauqua County Director of Emergency Services, said, “There were sporadic incidents throughout the county involving trees, electrical wires, telephone wires, and cables.”
Leone said Busti, Ellery, Dunkirk and Silver Creek had incidents, but he knew of no injuries. He also reported scattered power outages. According to his information, most of the power should have been restored by 6 p.m. on Sunday.
According to a spokeswoman for National Grid, the western part of the state had about 12,000 people without power. “Crews are out and will be out until they get everyone back (with power).” she said.
In the East Town of Dunkirk, firefighters shut down Urban Road between S. Roberts Road and Middle Road. According to a spokesperson for the East Town of Dunkirk Fire Department, the call came at about 6:15 a.m. Sunday morning. A tree limb knocked out electrical wires, telephone wires, and cables wires. The road was closed until 1 p.m.
In the west Town of Dunkirk, firefighters from that department shut down Route 5 between Willow Road and Temple Street. Fire chief Steven Davis explained that they got a call at about 5:45 a.m. Sunday that lines were down. A large pine tree on the north side fell across the road knocking out lines. The road was not opened until about 2:15 p.m. Only two houses were affected by a power outage.
In Silver Creek, firefighters began work at 3:45 a.m. on Sunday. According to first assistant chief James Tytka, Jr. a tree fell behind Tops Market in Silver Creek, taking out the power and the phone lines.
“Power lines trapped a person in a car,” he said. Firefighters were able to remove the lines so that the motorist could leave the scene.
In addition, a transformer blew and on one of the houses in the area the electrical meter blew off. Electrical wires were grounded to the water pipes, and the heat melted the solder. That created a fire in the house near a window. The fire was confined to that area, and an electrician worked to restore the power.
Silver Creek Chief Jeff Griewisch said the department was “darn busy” since they had to deal with several other trees down in the village as well as one in the Town of Hanover.
Fire chief David Muscato from Cassadaga reported one tree down on South Main Street in the village. The call came in at about 5:30 a.m. Electrical service was interrupted but was back up by 9 a.m.
In the city of Dunkirk a tree in Washington Park was down, but there were no other incidents reported by the fire department.
In Mayville on Lakeview Avenue a pine tree caused extensive damage to electric power lines, poles, crossarms and transformers. Village of Mayville Electric Department were assisted by crews from Villages of Brocton and Westfield Electric Departments.
On Point Drive North in Dunkirk, a problem with the gas lines was reported by a couple of residents who said they had been without gas since Sunday afternoon and were worried that it would not be restored anytime soon. Spokesperson for National Fuel, Karen Merkel said, “Crews are on the site. There was water in the gas lines. In those cases the water has to be removed.” She reported at about 9 p.m. Sunday that crews were currently relighting the gas lines in the homes affected and said the problem should be corrected by about 10 p.m.
Meteorologist Woods expected a lake-effect event beginning on Sunday night and continuing through Tuesday that would result in 12 to 18 inches of snow. In addition temperatures would be in the low teens and 20s with windchills making the temperature feel even lower.
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